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Class of 2024: Student Reporting, Support Have Vega Set Up for Success After Graduation

With graduation approaching for the Class of 2024, this year’s seniors might be asking themselves if they truly are prepared for life after high school. Gabryela Vega had the opportunity to pose that question to some local executives.

Vega, a senior at Grand River Preparatory High School, participated in Grand Valley State University’s grand opening of its futurEDLab, which is part of GVSU’s hopes to create a local talent pipeline by connecting students with businesses in a variety of fields. Through Grand River Prep’s Student Reporting Lab, she assisted in setting up the video and audio equipment and led interviews with
  • Garrick Rochow, CEO, Consumers Energy
  • Fatma Mili, GVSU provost and executive vice president for academic affairs
  • Jesse Bernal, GVSU chief of staff to the president and vice president for inclusion and equity
  • Stacie Behler, GVSU vice president and chief public affairs and communications officer and secretary, board of trustees
  • Philomena Mantella, GVSU president

Vega interviews GVSU President Mantella
Grand River Prep senior Gabryela Vega interviews Grand Valley State President Philomena Mantella.

Vega described the experience as “incredible and amazing.” It was just one of many that shaped her time at Grand River Prep, which outperforms the local district. She credits her teachers, in particular College/Career Ready Counselor Kristin Schumacher-Smith, with the encouragement she received while taking dual enrollment and AP classes.

“She just sat me down and really told me how proud of me she was, and it felt like a really helpful moment,” Vega said. You kind of forget when you’re doing all these, but it opened my eyes to what I was doing.”

Grand River Prep senior Vega participates in GVSU grand opening of futurEDLab
Gabryela Vega participated in Grand Valley State University’s grand opening of its futurEDLab.

After graduation, Vega is headed to the University of Michigan to study neuroscience and psychology. The Moral Focus-based education she received at Grand River Prep is evident as she has chosen to help others in her profession.

“I’m really big on helping people with their emotions because it’s really hard sometimes,” she said. “I’ve always been pretty interested in that, especially growing up with anxiety. I didn't know. To be able to help younger kids who have mental issues would be great.”

Good luck during the next part of your educational journey, Gabryela! 

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About Grand River Prep
Grand River Preparatory High School is a tuition-free, public charter school in Kentwood, Michigan, serving students in ninth through twelfth grade. It is part of the National Heritage Academies network, which includes more than 100 tuition-free, public charter schools serving more than 65,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade across nine states. For more information, visit

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